Saturday, April 24, 2010
#754) RUBEN GOTAY
Ruben Gotay joined the New York Mets when he was traded by the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Jeff Keppinger on July 19, 2006. He would finish that first year with the Mets in the minor leagues playing for Triple-A Norfolk. The next season Ruben again did not make the major-league club out of spring training, but was promoted to New York on April 30, 2007. Gotay appeared as a pinch-hitter that day facing the Florida Marlins at Shea Stadium for his Mets debut. He was used initially in that role and to occasionally spell Damion Easley in the lineup.
"This is how God works," Ruben said, "I was waiting for this, like, a year ago but, hey, it's not when I say it's time–it's when God gave me the chance. I am just trying to help the team, do my best and perform."
The versatile infielder made his mark and worked well with the other half of the Mets' double-play tandem, Jose Reyes. "Reyes is always talking to me and helping," Gotay shared. "He's always telling me when I do something good and when I do something bad. It's always good to have somebody tell you that because you want to get better."
A season-ending injury to Jose Valentin provided Ruben the opportunity to become the starting second baseman. "I'm pretty sure that teams are going to call now, and I'm willing to listen," said Mets General Manager, Omar Minaya. "But, we're going to go with Gotay."
Ruben continued to work hard throughout the season. He was often seen taking additional infield practice with Sandy Alomar, Sr. and extra batting practice with Howard Johnson. "I'm not afraid of making mistakes as long as I learn from them," Gotay explained. "I am afraid of making mistakes because I didn't work hard enough." He finished the 2007 season with a .295 batting average, hitting four home runs, and driving in 24 runs during his 98 games played.
During the off-season the Mets resigned newly-acquired second baseman, Luis Castillo to a contract extension. The move made Ruben expendable. Out of minor-league options, he was designated for assignment and placed on waivers during 2008 spring training. "I thought I did a good job last year. I didn't think I deserved this," Gotay would say with tears in his eyes as he sat in front of his locker. Ruben was claimed by the Atlanta Braves on March 28, 2008.
Ruben Gotay signed his card in the set, for my good friend Patrick, when the St. Louis Cardinals faced the Washington Nationals in a spring training game in Viera, Florida on March 19, 2010.